Did BP Just Give the Middle Finger to All Taxpayers?

It looks like the ironic outcome of the BP mess will come in the form of a truly poetic gesture that involves a middle finger offered by BP's treasurer to British and American taxpayers. The Financial Times reports that "BP is forecast to pay about $10bn less tax over the next four years as it meets the costs of its huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, hitting the revenues of Britain and the US that receive hundreds of millions of dollars from the company each year." Because the laws of both the US and the UK allow companies to deduct from their taxes what are called "business expenses" - and don't include excemptions that exclude from those normal business expenses things like cleaning up messes caused by doing business the wrong way, cutting corners and violating environmental laws - BP will transfer about a third of all their costs of dealing with the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster away from the company and directly onto the taxpayers of the US and the UK by deducting all these costs from their taxable profits. The company could well end up paying no income taxes at all, possibly even for several years, even though it's selling billions of dollars of oil and oil products and making billions in profits all over the world. The easy solution is for both the US and UK to amend their tax laws to stop letting companies deduct illegal activities or those things that result from failure to comply with industry or government standards. That easy solution, though, probably won't happen because BP and other oil companies also spend hundreds of millions of dollars bribing - er, lobbying - members of Congress, thus preventing such changes in the tax laws. And, like the cost of cleaning up the oil spill, their lobbying costs are also tax-deductible as business expenses, meaning that you and I are paying up to a third of those costs.


berts101's picture
berts101 13 years 49 weeks ago

Just imagine an animal with a elephant head on one end and a donkey head on the other. Would it be Dr. Doolittle's new pushmepullyou or an animal that has no way to eliminate wastes.

I think this should be the mascot for the conservadems. The problem above may contribute to thier iritability, and inabillity to see right from wrong

making progress's picture
making progress 13 years 49 weeks ago

"What is it going to take for concerned and engaged citizens to finally feel as though some crucial threshold has been crossed—that our nation’s political system and the global corporate culture it both serves and feeds into will never represent them or serve their needs? Continuing along that line, what’s to be done once that realization has hit home, as it has for authors Chris Hedges and Derrick Jensen? Both Hedges and Jensen offer their ideas in this July 5 interview with Mount Royal University professor Michael Truscello."

Chris Hedges and Derrick Jensen on Totalitarianism and Resistance

So Thom if you got an hour to listen to this discussion, I fee that it is a worthy topic for one of your shows. They basically discuss what to do when we no longer have a functioning democracy and instead we have a pathological structure/society. Presupposing present tense. Where is the threshold in which our society moves out of it's dilusional and infantile stage and starts accepting responsibility. When and how will we fight back? What is the endgame? When will our empire crumble?

raymondoscaff's picture
raymondoscaff 13 years 49 weeks ago

Much is being said Thom, but get your teeth into this:

BREAKING NEWS: They are purposely killing the Gulf Let us set aside the possibility of provable intent or gross criminal negligence of governmental regulators and oil company executives causing or allowing the worse humanly caused catastrophe in world history.
Now, let us focus on the greater and utterly provable crimes committed by US regulators and BP (British Petroleum) executives immediately following the blow-out of the Gulf of Mexico oil well.

Please read the following seven paragraphs slowly and carefully to completely understand the enormity of these crimes.

BP, with governmental approval, was so quick to dump hundreds of thousand of gallons of their toxic chemical dispersant, Corexit 9500, at their undersea wellhead and on surface waters that they must have expected a blow out.
BP executives and governmental regulators had to have known just how deadly their dispersant Corexit would turn the Gulf waters, by creating monstrously large, oily, rushing underwater plumes.
These plumes are hundreds of square miles of poisonous, oily micro-particles that go unseen by satellites, cameras, and the naked eyes of the world. They kill all life in their path at 3,000 feet below sea level.
This is death to all life within the fragile Gulf Coast ecosystems that are impacted by these Corexit plumes. Plant, animal, and marine life will die as these oily, Corexit plumes slip their broken oily gunk well under protective booms.
This is death that can never be cleaned up from beneath the sea or from shorelines, without creating greater problems.
What kind of psychopaths would even manufacture something like Corexit, much less put a million gallons of it into our waters?
These sub-humans who have ascended to such power are obviously well behind the human race in the spiritual aspects of their evolutionary development.
If the BP executives were ignorant of what they were doing, they should have been stopped by officials of our federal government.
If our officials were also ignorant, they should all be held accountable for the death and destruction they have allowed by not stopping BP’s use of Corexit.
And what kind of president do we have who has not taken action against these monsters in our government and corporations, who have quadrupled the toxicity of the escaping crude oil with the ungodly use of Corexit.
The ever smiling Obama, who in his first year in office, is said to have indebted Americans more than all previous presidents put together is excellent at two things: Reading from teleprompers the words others write for him and throwing us all ever deeper into debt.
Effective action? We’ve seen none of it.
I know not what others feel, Mr. Obama, but to me you are proving to be worse than useless. At least with little George Bush as president the nation was rallying against his traitorous presidency.
Compounding these heinous crimes, oil executives and governmental officials have taken an unconscionable amount of time with their failed attempts to cut off the jet propelled oil from the bowels of Mother Earth.
We need a leader who’d give these well paid federal government officials and fabulously paid oil executives a lot of time … about 25 years to life.
Such a leader would then go after the real villains – those true psychopaths of the private and foreign International Monetary/Banking Cartel.
This private Cartel controls its puppets in Washington as it controls its oil company executives. Everything this Cartel does is anti-life; there are no exceptions. Their pretended Gulf oil clean-up is a glaring case in point.
How can the media call making this gushing oil about four hundred percent more toxic (with Corexit 9500) than crude oil is itself a clean-up effort?
Instead of cleaning up the unprecedented catastrophe created by the Cartel’s mega-corporations (Halliburton, Transocean, and British Petroleum), these very same companies seem to be purposely killing our Gulf of Mexico, under the pretense of cleaning it up, using the chemical dispersant by the trade name of Corexit 9500.
Corexit 9500, about four times more toxic than crude oil, is one of the most poisonous dispersants ever developed, and is up to 20 times more toxic than other dispersants, while being only half as effective.
Oil does not become toxic until it reaches 11ppm, while Corexit 9500 is toxic at only 2.61 ppm, according to an Exxon Biomedical Sciences report entitled, “Acute Aquatic Toxicity of Three Corexit Products: An Overview.”
When Corexit 9500, with its 2.61 ppm toxicity level, is combined with the warm waters of the Gulf much of it will transition into a gaseous state that will be absorbed into clouds. It will then to be released as toxic rain upon all of the Eastern United States. And, Obama’s EPA has been unable to get BP to stop using Corexit..
The Banking Cartel, with their crude oil and Corexit , is not only destroying the biologically-richest waters in America, this Cartel may be trying to destroy life in the entire Eastern half of the United States.
Are hundreds of thousands of gallons of Corexit being dumped into our Gulf of Mexico waters to merely kill marine and wildlife, irrespective of the life it kills along our East coast?
With the International Monetary/Banking Cartel running the Obama administration, Congress, and the Supreme Court, who is worried about any other terrorists, except the woefully uninformed.
And of course, this news will be met with considerable disbelief by those who have yet to catch on to the fact that the private interests that own the Federal Reserve System - and all other central banks in the world - also own all major multinational corporations, including the major oil companies.
It is something you are not supposed to know and is politically incorrect to talk about: the International Monetary/Banking Cartel owns or controls, from its base in the financial District of London, and other undisclosed places, all large international corporations. Wall Street and the Federal Reserve banks of the US are merely the Cartel’s American subsidiaries.
The Cartel’s ownership of so much is hidden with various interlinked, interlocked directorships, proxies, nominees, sophisticated fronts, and the like. Their many corporations own shares of other corporations, which own still more shares of other corporations.
Socialist author, geo/political analyst, and activist Mr. Ralph Schoeman estimates that less than one percent of the world’s population comprises the capitalist/ banking Cartel’s infrastructures. yet this private Cartel owns over 95 percent of the world’s wealth, with each member holding an average of 14 large corporate directorships.
The Cartel’s multinational corporations are an arcane mixture of many corporations, all forming, in effect, one mega-corporation ultimately controlled - if not owned outright - by the International Monetary/Banking Cartel.
Even Harvard’s John Kenneth Galbraith, long recognized as America’s leading public intellectual, has warned us of the dangers and oligopolistic nature of large multi-national corporations.
Of the 100 largest economic units in the world today, 49 are governments, while 51 are corporations. Those corporations are the driving force on Earth. An open secret is that these corporations are owned by the International Monetary/Banking Cartel, which also controls the governments of the world.
This is international fascism at work.
It’s not that private ownership is a bad thing; it’s when nearly everything is owned by an entente of the few, and protected by governments, that makes private, corporate-led globalization of markets miasmatic to all other life forms. This is precisely what is currently occurring in the fragile ecosystems in our Gulf of Mexico, with its biodiversity of many plant, animal and marine species.
Killing our Gulf of Mexico is not merely corporate malfeasance. No, it’s governmental and corporate irresponsibility and criminal negligence at the very least, if not premeditated mass murder on an international scale.
To reiterate, our world is in the death grip of something known as the International Monetary/Banking Cartel, the fountainhead of all international monopolies that are protected by the laws and militaries of the major governments of the world. The US government, with her perfidious politicians, has led in the defense of this Cartel, beginning sometime after President Lincoln’s assassination.
Lincoln said, “Corporations have been enthroned. An era of corruption in high places will follow … until wealth is aggregated in a few hands … and the Republic is destroyed.”
Democratic politicians are the best agents for big business, because of the popular belief that democratic politicians will protect the public from the abuses of financial oligarchs, an easily provable myth.
It’s a sad truth that democratic voters, who see financial plutocrats as their greatest adversaries, constantly support ever bigger government, with more laws and regulations. These same voters do not have a clue that those very laws are written by the Cartel’s think tanks, to more enrich and empower themselves.
If one carefully explained all of this to an average democratic voter, they would probably demand proof. Oddly once proof was furnished, they’d ignore it all, calling it a right-wing conspiracy theory. So much for relying on democratic voters; they’ll not learn much political truth this lifetime.
What can be said for rabid republicans voters? Thanks to right-wing, war-loving demigods like Rush Limbaugh, republicans have monopoly capitalism confused with free markets and free enterprises, and do not want to make any distinctions between them.
Unfortunately, those stuck deeply within the media’s carefully engineered left/right paradigm have no desire to be objective, and thus are blinded to all truth that does not reinforce biased opinions. Remedial work in geopolitics will not open the minds of such people as they are badly in need of spiritual remedies.
Nevertheless, facts are facts, and some are available to truthseekers. Our present example is the killing of life in our Gulf of Mexico, by a death-dealing consortium whose power extends far beyond the politicians and corporate executives it controls.
“It’s a tightly knit, highly effective machine, that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific, and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed. No secret is revealed.” These were the words of President John F. Kennedy regarding this diabolical cartel before he was assassinated by them.
If this consortium of international oligarchs was willing to kill a president, they’ll likely have no issues with killing our Gulf of Mexico.
Instead of using safe, non-toxic ways to gather up the rogue oil gushing from their incompetence - or their planned cataclysm - this private Cartel of oligarchs is using an extremely toxic chemical dispersant (Corexit), with the approval of the Obama administration, to drive the surface crude oil deeply underwater.
According to a New York Times article by Paul Quinlan, British Petroleum (BP) chose to us the toxic dispersant Corexit, despite alternative dispersants having been shown to be far less toxic, and in some cases nearly twice as effective.
Although scientists have warned that Corexit could cause long-term harm to marine life, BP has ordered almost a million more gallons of the deadly dispersant from Nalso, a company with whom BP enjoys a cozy relationship.
Even our own EPA data ranks Corexit as being 20 times more toxic, and far less effective in handling southern Louisiana crude than some other dispersants.
Historically, since the days of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, workers who have cleaned up after the use of Corexit have suffered with health problems, including blood in their urine, respiratory and nervous system illnesses, along with kidney, liver and other blood disorders.
Just as the federal government lied to the first responders after 911, they are allowing BP to hire Gulf Coast fishermen to set protective booms and do other oil clean-up work without respirators and other protective equipment. In fact, BP officials are telling the fishermen that the air along the coast is safe to breath. As a result, these Gulf fishermen have become scared, confused, and sick – very sick.
On the 19th of May 2010, WDSU News of New Orleans, reported on the many coast fishermen who have been getting sick. They featured the sad story of fisherman Gary Burris, who has gotten extremely ill from inhaling fumes during response work.
A doctor told Burris that his lungs looked like those of a three pack a day smoker. Gary Burris has never smoked.
Marine toxicologist Riki Ott said the chemicals [Corexit] used by BP can cause havoc in a person’s body, and lead to death.
Carys Mitchelmore, a professor at the University of Maryland’s Environmental Science asked, “Why wouldn’t you go for the lesser toxic formulation?”
BP spokesman Jon Pack defended the use of Corexit by saying their attention is focused on “plugging the leak” and not what dispersant is used.
Plugging the leak? Please Mr. Pack, don’t insult us. We have a gusher - or gushers - on our hands, and your company has been absurdly ineffective in stopping the escape of millions of gallons of crude oil.
And is it not odd Mr. Pack, that your British Petroleum – a British company – is using their Corexit oil in US waters, even though it has been banned in Britain for over a decade, as verified in the New York Times website, quoting a letter sent by Rep. Edward Markey (chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment) to the EPA?
“It’s a chemical [Corexit] that the oil industry makes to sell to itself, basically,” said Richard Charter, a senior policy advisor for Defenders of Wildlife.
Alan Levine, the head of Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals, said, “We don’t have any data or evidence behind the use of these chemicals [Corexit] in the water. We’re now basically using one of the richest ecosystems in the world as a laboratory [for testing].”
As reported in Britain’s Telegraph, Louisiana state Secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Robert Barham reported, “We’re very disappointed in their [EPA and oil company executives] approach. The federal procedures call for a consensus between federal authorities, the responsible party and the states involved. When we met and expressed our concerns [over the use of Corexit], apparently they decided to go without us.”
And go they did. Obama’s environmental “protectors” have allowed BP to turn our Gulf of Mexico, and perhaps the entire Eastern half of the US, into a killing field, or at the very least a toxic testing ground, instead of simply removing the crude oil.
British Petroleum (BP) has even refused to use their own oil tankers, currently lying in the Gulf to suck up most of the runaway oil, and possibly salvage it for sale later, as was done after a Saudi spill in the ‘90’s. That method was so successful it vacuumed up about 85 percent of that renegade oil.
Nick Pozzi, a former oil pipeline engineering and operations project manager is puzzled why BP did not salvage perfectly good crude oil, both for later sale and to protect marine and wildlife.
What Mr. Pozzi does not know is that the oil companies are owned by the world’s only legal counterfeiters – the International Monetary/Banking Cartel - who can “print” all the money they want. Making money on Gulf oil was apparently not important to them. Killing the Gulf of Mexico apparently is important to them, for their own cryptic and esoteric reasons.
While it cannot yet be proven that the International Monetary/Banking Cartel’s Halliburton (of Dick Chaney fame) purposely and improperly cemented BP’s Gulf oil well, so it would later explode, it’s patently obvious that BP has quadrupled the toxicity of their runaway oil in the Gulf with their toxic dispersant, Corexit.
If the Cartel had wanted to later sell their floating crude, and save marine life, any oil they had not vacuumed up could have been eliminated or mulched with any number of non-toxic sources.
Microbes, for instance, would have eaten much of this errant crude oil, leaving the water safe for marine and wildlife, and filled the ocean with food for fish, birds and lower life forms in the process.
An absorbent “Oil Sponge,” a name Phase III, Inc. has trademarked, was also dismissed by BP.
Rated as the “best performing” absorbent by the US Army Corp of Engineers, Oil Sponge is 100% organic, and is made from renewable resources.
Oil Sponge is built using a microbial and nutrient package capable of transforming oil hydrocarbons into a safe byproduct of carbon dioxide and water.
Mysteriously, the governmental bureaucrats of the Obama administration, and the Cartel’s oil executives, had no interest in using an environmentally friendly product to clean up the world’s greatest man-made environmental disaster of all time. They seemed intent on making this unbelievable cataclysm far, far worse, and one that could never be cleaned up.
What will our government allow BP to do next? Will they allow BP to start burning the oil still on the surface waters, they should have vacuumed and mulched?
It cannot yet be proven that the Monetary Cartel purposely blew up their own wellhead, but the crimes they have committed in their so-called “clean-up” efforts are well documented, in spite of no corporate media outrage. Well, of course not, the Cartel that owns the oil companies also own “our” mainstream media.
After the Exxon Valdez incident of March 1989, Mycelx of Georgia developed what looks like a paper towel to soak up to 50 times its weight in oil. And while this product is used from the Middle East to Europe to Canada it was of no interest to the parties Obama charged with cleaning up the Gulf of the floating oil those very same parties caused.
Then there is the AmeriHaz Petroleum Solidifier that encapsulates environmental contaminants, making crude oil and other oil like substances easy to retrieve, which also proved to be of no interest to the Cartel or Mr. Obama.
Even hair naturally separates oil from water, leaving large tar globs, in which mushrooms can then be seeded. And as the mushrooms grow, they digest the oil, leaving non-toxic organics, which can then be composed into soil, great for growing healthy vegetables.
Anyone who has ever had a bad hair day knows how well hair will retain oil. In fact, Lisa Gautier, president of Matter of Fact (website for hair salons) has collected 400,000 pounds of hair, and stuffed it all into nylons to be used as booms near Gulf shores.
This idea could have been a shot in the arm of our dying economy, by creating organic compost for the millions of nutrient depleted farm acres in the world. Also there could have been a viable cottage industry of collecting hair from salons.
And, hair is certainly a renewable resource, with most of us contributing. But neither Obama or the Cartel has done anything for our dying US and world economy, but ensure it dies, while feebly pretending to resuscitate it.
And now that they’ve probably destroyed the tourist, shrimping, and fishing industries along the Gulf Coast, we’ll be hearing about more “stimulus packages” that will make what money we do have even more worthless as it enriches the Cartel’s Wall Street.
But in the world of what could have been, there’s hay, sawdust, crushed volcanic rock, sheep’s wool, and even kitty litter that could have mulched with the oil on the surface of the Gulf waters, making for easy pick-up.
But, oil industry executives and their confederates in the Obama administration quickly made sure that all spewing oil would either sink well below the surface, or never rise to it, with over half a million gallons of their dispersants. Now the oil that’s been gushing for weeks can never be vacuumed up or safely neutralized.
Worse yet, these international enemies of humanity, and life in the Gulf, committed their dastardly deed of deeply submerging the floating oil with their extremely dangerous chemical dispersant, Corexit, that would deny all marine creatures oxygen, thus killing them, and marine plant life to boot, as major underwater currents carry this poisonous oily plume through-out the Gulf and into the Atlantic.
Trying to give this mass murder a positive spin, BP spokesman John Crabtree said his corporation had dropped more than 560,000 gallons of Corexit on the surface slicks and 28,700 gallons of the chemical at the subsea wellhead, 5,000 feet below sea-level.
Crabtree’s justification for such an insane, criminal act was that their Corexit would drive the oil well below the water’s surface, thus keeping it away from coastal shorelines. So instead of removing the oil, BP decided to make the oil even more toxic, and drive it deep into the ocean where it can never be retrieved, but will kill all marine life in its path.
Mandy Joyce, a marine sciences professor at the University of Georgia carefully chose her words about BP’s deplorable dispersants: “Anything that requires oxygen will not be able to survive that water. The food web is going to change. You could stymie the entire production level of the Gulf of Mexico. That’s a very real possibility.”
Some of BP’s chemical dispersants contain 2-butoxyethanol, a compound that kills marine and wildlife, exactly the life our clean-up measures should try to save.
Corexit, currently being dropped by airplanes, break the crude oil into tiny droplets that sink well below the water’s surface, where they form a giant cloud or plume, making it impossible to gather, as is their obvious intention.
And with this poisonous plume creating a dead zone, currently estimated to be about the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined, hidden at about 3,000 feet of water, no one can place an accurate figure on how much oil has actually rushed into the Gulf.
And once this death dealing plume reaches the large, rapidly moving Loop Current, this oily cloud of doom could swing toward Florida and Cuba, killing the coral reefs and marine life there.
According to Stephen Howden, an oceanographer at the University of Southern Mississippi, the Loop Current could drag the oxygen destroying cloud into shallower waters thus potentially impacting the coral reefs and fisheries near Florida’s coast.
University of Georgia’s Mandy Joyce said, “It’s a good thing the oil is not damaging the coast line, but to say everything is fine because its not hitting the coast is missing a very important part of this equation.”
And I would say, Ms. Joyce’s statement is a serious understatement.
Another person famous for misleading and under stated remarks is our president, Barack Obama.
There can be no denying that President Obama and his EPA regulators are accomplices to the crimes in the Gulf of Halliburton, Transocean, and British Petroleum by allowing these perpetrators of the disaster to be the ones in charge of the capping and clean-up efforts.
How much longer will our government allow these corporate criminals to fail with the capping of the oil gushers ,and making a dead zone of the Gulf of Mexico and perhaps the Atlantic Ocean?
Thus far, President Obama has made a grandstand play by pretending to excoriate the oil company executives responsible for the Gulf tragedy for not taking proper responsibility.
Excuse me Sir, it’s you who should have taken control and responsibility by tasking competent individuals and companies to cap this runaway well, and to clean up the mess, without destroying the entire Gulf of Mexico in the process.
And instead of excoriating the oil company executives and government bureaucrats who dumped over a half million gallons of toxic dispersants into the Gulf, you should be arresting them for crimes against humanity, not to mention their crimes against marine and wildlife.
Additionally, Obama’s teleprompter writers had the ignorance to state the ridiculous: “I know BP has committed to pay for the response effort, and we will hold them to their obligation,” read Obama.
The very obvious point Mr. Obama, is you should have saved our Gulf of Mexico, by making sure Transocean, Halliburton, and British Petroleum had absolutely nothing to do with the clean-up efforts, rather than making them pay to turn the Gulf into a dead zone.
President Obama went on to say many parties, including the federal government should accept blame for the disaster, he stopped short of saying he, himself, should be held responsible for his part in so destroying so much life in the Gulf.
“There is oil leaking. We need to stop it, and we need to stop it as soon as possible,” said Obama.
It’s not a leak, Mr. Obama. It’s a volcanic gusher spewing out an Exxon Valdez every two to four days.
Simply stated, Mr. Obama, we need far less of your teleprompter readings and far more effective actions.
The danger of the Obama presidency is the cognitive dissonance he must be creating within his numerous supporters. Cognitive dissonance is the uneasy and disturbing feelings one has, caused by holding two contradictory beliefs, ideas, or attitudes at the same time.
With Obama, many people believed his presidency would bring us the kind of change we all wanted. But the facts tell us a different story: President Obama has done no more than Bush, Jr. would have done.
To handle the discomfort of this kind of cognitive dissonance most democratic voters will alter those ideas that are easier to change by making excuses for Obama, excuses that they never would have made for little Bush.
With Obama or Bush as president, our best hope seems to be prayer.

Best selling author Whitley Strieber wrote, “The Gulf spill is out of control, the media has dropped it, BP is lying, the gov’t is silent. Pray.”

From whales and dolphins to sardines, from starfish to coral reefs, from microscopic organisms to all the fish in the sea, the Cartel has embarked upon killing them all, and will continue to kill … unless they are stopped. Are you man enough for the job, Mr. President?

J. Speer-Williams

Paine II's picture
Paine II 13 years 49 weeks ago

Speer-Williams wrote: "Killing the Gulf of Mexico apparently is important to them, for their own cryptic and esoteric reasons." It is hard for me to imagine what would motivate the so-called "International Monetary/Banking Cartel" to want to kill all life in the Gulf and potentially poison the Atlantic Ocean and the East Coast of the US. This isn't to say Speer-Williams isn't right, it just that I need a motive to make this crime plausible. I'm as big of a conspiracy theorist as they come, but this one is hard to get my teeth into. Let me give it a shot: The IMBC wants to turn the Gulf into one big oil producing area and if everything is dead, well, there aren't any environmental issues, nothing to protect. Plus, instead of having independent fisherman, big companies can set up fish farms and shrimp farms in the Gulf.

Also, the Carribean is a hotbed of socialism and liberalism; Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Mexico, Jamaica, Puerto Rico; and this will screw them up pretty good.

OK, that's all I got. Anybody else?

Austro-Libertarian's picture
Austro-Libertarian 13 years 49 weeks ago

It looks like the ironic outcome of the BP mess will come in the form of a truly poetic gesture that involves a middle finger offered by BP's treasurer to British and American taxpayers. The Financial Times reports that "BP is forecast to pay about $10bn less tax over the next four years as it meets the costs of its huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, hitting the revenues of Britain and the US that receive hundreds of millions of dollars from the company each year." Because the laws of both the US and the UK allow companies to deduct from their taxes what are called "business expenses" - and don't include excemptions that exclude from those normal business expenses things like cleaning up messes caused by doing business the wrong way, cutting corners and violating environmental laws - BP will transfer about a third of all their costs of dealing with the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster away from the company and directly onto the taxpayers of the US and the UK by deducting all these costs from their taxable profits. The company could well end up paying no income taxes at all, possibly even for several years, even though it's selling billions of dollars of oil and oil products and making billions in profits all over the world. The easy solution is for both the US and UK to amend their tax laws to stop letting companies deduct illegal activities or those things that result from failure to comply with industry or government standards. That easy solution, though, probably won't happen because BP and other oil companies also spend hundreds of millions of dollars bribing - er, lobbying - members of Congress, thus preventing such changes in the tax laws. And, like the cost of cleaning up the oil spill, their lobbying costs are also tax-deductible as business expenses, meaning that you and I are paying up to a third of those costs.

Wow! Just wow.

So, because BP is not paying as much income tax, since it will not have income to tax, it is screwing taxpayers. I guess because it's not paying its fair share.

Exactly what principle do you think taxation should be based on? Whatever you payed in the past, is what you owe in the future, regardless of how your situation changes? An income tax is on earnings, not losses.

Also, a good portion of those bribes and lobbying costs are just payoff so the government won't create new regulations and raise taxes on those businesses. In other words, much of the time, these companies are not corrupting the government, so much as being shook down, and paying their protection dues to the protection racket that is the U.S. Federal Government, so they won't be wiped out of the market. It's like the small time shopkeeper paying off the mob. Sure, some do corrupt the government; Goldman Sachs, Haliburton, ect. But most are just trying to keep their business from being ruined.

Also, as far as I am aware, the Federal government lowered the safety standards and capped liability at $75M to encourage offshore drilling. And BP operated on the basis of these new guidelines as well as the liability cap. So, unless you think following Federal guidelines is criminal, calling BP criminal makes no sense at all.

Also, this is alot like blaming and penalizing victims rather than criminals. It is the U.S. Federal govenrment that is 'screwing taxpayers.' Just look at how much it takes year in and year out. They are clearly the looters, and BP is clearly amoung the looted. It's payed far more in taxes than you have. If anybody owes more taxes, its the niggardly ones who are just not earning enough to be taxed more.

dstierm 13 years 47 weeks ago

BP controls scientific reports?

From the American Association of University Professors email newsletter: BP's strategy to control scientific information developed from studying effects of their massive spill:


BP and Academic Freedom

On Friday, July 16, Ben Raines, a reporter for Mobile, Alabama’s Press-Register, published a story detailing extensive efforts by BP to employ scientists engaged in (or likely to engage in) research about the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Inside Higher Ed has since conducted independent interviews for its own coverage. The contracts offered by the giant company, according to both sources, restrict the scientists from publishing research results, sharing them with other scientists, or even talking about them for as long as three years, a serious restraint in the midst of an ongoing crisis.

Both during the immediate crisis and for an extended period as government leaders and the courts figure out how to respond to the Gulf tragedy, the work these scientists do will essentially belong to BP, which will be free to suppress it or characterize it in any way it chooses. Faculty members under contract to BP, meanwhile, would be unable to testify against the company in court and would be available to testify on the company’s behalf. Several faculty members in the area have confirmed to the American Association of University Professors that they have been offered contracts by BP in exchange for restrictive confidentiality clauses. A notably chilling provision directs contracted scientists to communicate through BP’s lawyers, thus raising the possibility that research findings will be constrained by lawyer-client privilege.

The oil spill is not only a catastrophic economic and environmental disaster for the Gulf region; it also has major implications for energy policy in both the United States and the rest of the world. The ability to share research results promptly and freely is not only a basic tenet of academic freedom; in this case, it is also critical to the health of the region and the world. While more investigative work is needed, the very prospect of an interested corporation worth billions of dollars blocking the free exchange of university research and controlling the work scientists choose to do is deeply disturbing. If knowledgeable scientists cannot testify in court, the ability of injured parties to win just compensation is also jeopardized. But the long-term threat to American society is still more grave: we need independent faculty voices, perhaps more so now — in a knowledge-based society — than ever before.

In its founding 1915 Declaration, the AAUP warned of the “danger of restrictions upon the expression of opinions” that “call into question the moral legitimacy or social expediency of economic conditions or commercial practices in which large vested interests are involved.” Our 2004 “Statement on Corporate Funding of Academic Research” establishes the fundamental standard: “Such contracts should explicitly provide for the open communication of research results, not subject to the sponsor’s permission for publication.”

Universities that prohibit faculty members from doing research that violates this principle, in my view, are protecting academic freedom, not restricting it. Of course in recommending that universities enforce this principle I am going beyond current AAUP policy. The world has changed. The increasing impact of corporate funding on the integrity of faculty research is among the changes higher education must confront. The decision about whether to sign restrictive contracts is not simply a matter of individual choice. It has broad implications for higher education and for the society at large.

At least one university has refused an institution-wide contract with BP for exactly these reasons. Many individual faculty members are declining BP offers or withdrawing from existing ones. Perhaps this is the time to reexamine the increasing role corporations are playing in funding and controlling university research. Universities should work with faculty to set ethical standards for industry collaboration that champion the public interest and discourage faculty members from selling their freedom of speech and research to the highest bidder.

Meanwhile, we urge other news media to join the effort to interview area scientists, gather copies of BP contracts, and publish the results. This story needs to be told in full. Universities should also consider where the public interest lies before permitting faculty members to sign contracts that limit the free exchange of information and bar public testimony. BP itself should certainly invest in research related to the spill, but it should do so without curtailing either faculty members’ free speech rights or their academic freedom. To do otherwise could prove hazardous to all of our health.

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